It all began, innocently enough, on the annual golf trip I took last June with 11 college friends, all of whom happen to be skiers, too. They are longtime SKI subscribers: A few are literate and actually read the articles, while all of them like to look at the pictures. Collectively, they believe this somehow qualifies them to serve as an informal focus group for what should or should not be in the pages of SKI. Year after year, I listen patiently to their ramblings. Then I wisely ignore their advice.
Perhaps it's because we were all turning 40 and suffering mid-life crises, but this time I heard an overwhelming call for sex appeal. They brandished some upstart golf magazine that brazenly featured a "Cart Girl Of The Month" and a photo essay of a barely clad supermodel with a 40 handicap. Keep in mind these are all good husbands with successful careers, and they are devoted to their wives and children. But as one of them candidly remarked: "Just because I put all my money on one horse doesn't mean I can't watch the rest of the race."
I thought about their advice on the plane ride home, and what they said started to make sense. Skiing is an inherently sexy sport, much more so than golf or tennis or hiking or biking. It offers intimate moments on the chairlift and at the fireside après-ski. It also takes strength and agility. The connection was obvious, and it seemed to me that there had to be a way to turn up the sex appeal of SKI, without being crass.
When I returned to the office, I sent out an email titled "Sex and Skiing" to the staff. "Now that I have your attention," it began, "I want to talk about...sex and skiing." We had four new staff members at the time, including three women, and I think they were slightly horrified. The memo, which must be in my HR file by now, called for a healthy, wholesome, athletic and definitely more revealing approach to the images and content that appear in SKI. It also proposed a profile of the "World's All-Time Sexiest Skiers," a photo essay that appears on page 66 in this issue. The "Sex & Skiing" package also includes a handful of other romantically inspired pieces, highlighted by a point-counterpoint that tackles the age-old question of "Is Skiing Better Than Sex?" on page 32. Can you even imagine asking that with a straight face of any other sport? Like, is hiking better than sex?
The relationships that are sparked on the mountain, in the cold outdoors, in a sport that has no equal for speed and thrills, are worth celebrating in this "Sex & Skiing" issue. Read on, and we think you'll agree that there's an inexorable link between the two, and that skiing is the world's most romantic sport. And if you don't, I'll gladly forward your comments to the focus group this spring.